Barry George, (subject of previous blog post here…) and three others, have lost their claims for compensation from the government, following the overturning of their wrongful convictions. One of the claimants, DID win his claim. Ian Lawless served eight years for a murder that he did not commit. He was jailed for life in 2002 and yesterday, a UK High Court judge ruled that the decision not to award Mr Lawless compensation, was legally flawed, and the government must re-consider. This leaves the door open for him to succeed in gaining compensation (read here…)
However, the other four claimants LOST their appeals to the High Court, with ramifications for all victims of miscarriages of justice in the UK.
The Court ruled that the government decision to not award payouts to those against who there was evidence that could possibly indicate their guilt was legal, applying for the first time, the Supreme Court ruling that a miscarriage of justice ONLY occurs when: a miscarriage of justice occurs “when a new or newly discovered fact shows conclusively that the evidence against a defendant has been so undermined that no conviction could possibly be based upon it”. Thus, not all those who have convictions overturned will qualify for compensation: “Procedural deficiencies that led to irregularities in the trial or errors in the investigation of offences will not suffice to establish entitlement to compensation”. It was concluded that a jury could STILL find a verdict of guilt against Barry George, thus, he was not a clearly ‘innocent’ person and the government were justified in refusing him compensation.
There are a further 11 cases awaiting a hearing, but with this decision, it is highly unlikely that the High Court will waiver, and the Supreme Court’s ruling in 2011, will stand firm. Barry George therefore, along with many others, will continue to live with the cloud over their head, that they have yet to ‘prove their innocence’, as many media outlets are reporting. See here….